File No. 862.20212/70a

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico ( Fletcher)


10. The Department has obtained possession of text of telegram sent by Zimmermann, German Secretary of State, to the German Minister to Mexico, which was sent by way of Washington and, we are informed, was forwarded by Bernstorff on January 19.2 It states in substance that it is the intention of the German Government to begin unrestricted submarine warfare on February 1; that in spite of this plan the German Government will endeavor to keep the United States neutral, but if they do not succeed the German Government make an offer of an alliance with Mexico as follows: To make war together; to make peace together; Germany to give financial aid and to agree that Mexico is to recapture Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Settlement of details are left to the German Minister. German Minister is instructed to inform the President of Mexico of this proposal most secretly as soon as war with United States is certain and to suggest that he should, on his own initiative, approach Japan with some suggestion for an understanding, which is not quite clear, and, at the same time, offer to mediate between Japan and Germany.

You will at once see General Carranza or, if that can not be arranged immediately, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Bead to him the substance of the German note and state that it is probable that the contents of this note will be made public in the United States immediately and suggest as your personal opinion that it might be well for the Mexican Government to make some comment.

Merely for your guidance. The Department does not feel that it can properly withhold from the public the text of this German message. Its publication, however, may cause great consternation and it is possible, unfortunately, that, with the intense feeling aroused, [Page 235] there may be included a degree of uncertainty in regard to the attitude of Mexico unless the Mexican Government can make some statement which might be published simultaneously tending to show their disinterestedness.

  1. Ante, p. 147.